Sunday

Dance of Death & Other Plantation Favorites

The original 1965 release:





Circa 1965:






Circa 1970:





Circa 1972:




Later copies of this record are labelled as stereo but they aren't; regardless of labelling all pressings of this record were actually mono.

The original label design for this record is as far as I am aware unique, never used on any other Takoma release. The second design actually uses different typefaces on each side of the record (look at the centre of the 'O' in 'TAKOMA')! I have other copies that use one or the other, but never both together.

Matrices for this record are: 'SCORE: TAKOMA 4 FAHEY 3 - A' and 'SCORE: TAKOMA 4 FAHEY 3 - B'. And there's an interesting story here too; the gentleman who mastered the disc was so amused by his little joke in presenting the matrix numbers as a score that he put the 'A' and the 'B' on the wrong sides of the masters (or maybe he was told to?). This caused some chaos, with the labels being put on the wrong sides for some time. If you look at the labels above you will see that the Dragon label transfers the track listing between the sides and this puts the track listings on the label in line with what's on the vinyl (but now the opposite to what is printed on the sleeve!). The only copy I have seen that is correctly labelled and matches the sleeve listing is that very first pressing. It gets slightly more complicated in that there is a 'hidden' track at the end of 'Give Me Cornbread When I'm Hungry'. People tend to think that this bonus track is only to be found on rare early pressings, but it is actually on all US copies pressed between 1965 and 1979. But people who go looking for it, if the album is mislabelled, tend to play 'Worried Blues' believing it to be 'Cornbread', and then think that they don't have the bonus track. For confusion, it's not exactly in the 'Voice of the Turtle' class, but it can take some getting your head around. The tune that appears at the end of 'Cornbread' is called 'Country Blues'. I originally put up the beginning of 'Dance of Death' in error, and look rather foolish as a result, but here is the correct Country Blues as a download; it isn't on the CD. My thanks to Malcolm Kirton for being very patient in correcting me, and for elucidating the connection between 'Cornbread' and 'Country Blues',
which is that Dock Boggs' original 'Country Blues' includes the lines:
Give me cornbread when I'm hungry, good people, corn whiskey when I'm dry
Pretty women a-standing around me
Sweet heaven when I die


The Adelphi sessions which produced this album turned up many outtakes, and here is the first: Television Song

In 1967, the first three albums were repackaged. Volumes 1 & 2 were new recordings, but this one wasn't. It was retitled 'Volume 3: The Dance of Death and Other Plantation Favorites'.

13 comments:

malcolm kirton said...

I think you may have inadvertently posted the wrong mp3 here: the track identified as 'Country Blues' is instead the first section of 'Dance of Death' (as used on the soundtrack of Zabriskie Point). Country Blues -- from Dock Boggs -- is the short coda (less than a minute) to 'Give Me Cornbread'. On the record it's part of the same track.

Great site -- please keep posting!

Stephen said...

Malcolm
You are both right and wrong, as am I. I would have to admit that I relied on this: 'On certain early pressings of Volume 3 there is either an extra uncredited track after Give Me Corn Bread or it’s a final section of Fahey’s composition which later became separated. In any event the tune is Country Blues by Dock Boggs'.
That was, as you will know, taken from the IFC Fahey site notes for 'Dance of Death' (maybe you wrote them). Now I have to admit that although I own the CDs, I never listen to them at all, other than for reference when discussions like this start. And what you say is the first section of 'Dance of Death' does indeed appear as such on the CD. However, on all the Takoma US albums it is definitely appended to 'Give Me Cornbread', with the track gap on the vinyl coming beyond it. In sound terms it is spaced at both ends by the usual silence that you'd find between tracks. If I'd listened to the 'Dance of Death' track on the CD rather than simply 'Cornbread' I'd have realised what had happened. But this may explain why people identify a 'hidden' track as being present in the first place.
The 22 people who have downloaded the mp3 I put up are going to be very disappointed, and probably a bit baffled!

malcolm kirton said...

Stephen,

Many thanks for your deailed responses to my comments. But now you've got me really confused. I checked 2 US pressings of Vol. 3 and I could swear the track divide (and the gap on the vinyl) comes between Country Blues (ie. the end of Give Me Cornbread) and Dance of Death, or the track listed as such on the CD. It looks like you might have a different pressing!
I haven't checked the tuning for Country Blues. Dance of Death is in open G Minor and Give Me Cornbread in open G Major but it's not necesssarily in either tuning as it's probably just edited in from a different performance.

Stephen said...

Malcolm

I give the matrix details for this album in my post. I am very confident that that master was used for all original US pressings from 1965 through to 1979 (it was certainly used with all the records photographed here, and my other copies). It was only when Takoma passed through the hands of Chrysalis and Allegiance that Takoma's masters were replaced across the board. You might care to check your own matrices, that will at least determine whether or not we are talking about the same pressing, or whether there are indeed two.

In one respect you have an advantage over me, in that you are familiar with Doc Boggs recording of 'Country Blues'; I am however confident that the tune that appears at the start of 'Dance of Death' on the CD is placed at the end of 'Give Me Cornbread' on all my copies of the record. I will go and re-check again, and attempt to photograph a record so that the track divides can be seen.

Stephen said...

Malcolm

As promised, a photo which has been appended to the original post. I hope that this at least clarifies what I am trying to say. I would be interested to know if your pressings are different; I have looked at seven here and all are identical.

malcolm kirton said...

Stephen,

There's no doubt we have the same pressings, the ones with the 'joke' matrices. I also have the Allegiance pressing, from a different mastering, possibly the one used for the CD, as 'Country Blues' is missing. The track gap is before the segment you posted.

The clue to all this lies in Dock Boggs' song. It includes the lines:
Give me cornbread when I'm hungry, good people, corn whiskey when I'm dry
Pretty women a-standing around me
Sweet heaven when I die

I'll try to post an mp3 of 'Country Blues' on the Fahey Guitar PlayersForum (I don't have a Rapidshare account).

Stephen said...

Malcolm

You're entirely right and I am wrong. I thought 'either he's mad or I am' and sadly it's me. Probably caused by age and senility, but it could have been because it took me some time to work out that half the pressings were mislabelled - I'd never realised before!.

I have now put up the correct 'Country Blues' as a download, and rewritten the post. Sorry it took you so long to sort me out, and thanks for your invaluable scholarship.

Pat said...

Stephen:

Is the 1999 Fantasy CD of Dance of Death in mono?

Thanks, Pat

Stephen said...

Pat, it is indeed in mono, as are the other CDs where only mono recordings existed (Vol.4, Transfiguration, Days Have Gone By and Turtle, plus the earlier versions of each of the first two records on their CDs).

chief karlsson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chief karlsson said...

Just a short notice that my copy of DoD is the 1972 version with the matrix Score: 3A and 3B on the correct sides of the record.
But that was not was I was going to talk about but rather the coda of "Give Me Cornbread" and on first hearing it autumn 1972 I was not aware that it was Doc Boggs Country Blues but I recognized it as "Darling Corey" from the Doc Watson Family record on Folkways.
regards...

Gene R said...

Dear folks if any are still alive on this site:

Please sit down, take a deep breath and get ready to re-write all of your scholarly/academician crap!
Shame on you all for NOT doing your homework and NOT checking the original source, the true vine as it were befor going off on your wild and inaccurate presumptions! :-)
There was ya see an Adelphi Studio session dated August 23, 24 1966 wherein such Fahey recordings as Chicken, Blues For Annie Kovacs, Television Rag, When the catfish is in bloom, etc. were recorded...
Begin your re-writes NOW, because this is only the beginning of the history correcting to be known as the "Resurrection of John Fahey!"

Sincerely
Gene Rosenthal, Pres.
Adelphi Records & Films, Inc.
BBM Publ., ASCAP
NARAS

website- www.adelphirecords.com
e-mail adelphirecords@erols.com

Gene R said...

Dear folks if any are still alive on this site:

Please sit down, take a deep breath and get ready to re-write all of your scholarly/academician crap!
Shame on you all for NOT doing your homework and NOT checking the original source, the true vine as it were befor going off on your wild and inaccurate presumptions! :-)
There was ya see an Adelphi Studio session dated August 23, 24 1966 wherein such Fahey recordings as Chicken, Blues For Annie Kovacs, Television Rag, When the catfish is in bloom, etc. were recorded...
Begin your re-writes NOW, because this is only the beginning of the history correcting to be known as the "Resurrection of John Fahey!"

Sincerely
Gene Rosenthal, Pres.
Adelphi Records & Films, Inc.
BBM Publ., ASCAP
NARAS

website- www.adelphirecords.com
e-mail adelphirecords@erols.com